The United Nations health agency is partnering with authorities in Bamiyan to increase services for people living in remote areas of the northern Afghan province, which is often inaccessible for months at a time due to harsh winter conditions.
Several districts, including Yakawlang, Panjab, Waras and Kahmard, are cut off by poor weather, which hampers health service delivery and puts the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghans at risk, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“There is a real need to turn the spotlight on the good quality humanitarian work that is able to take place in Bamiyan given its relatively secure situation in a country that is otherwise conflict-affected,” said Peter Graaff, WHO Representative in Afghanistan.
“We would like to reach every man, woman and child in Afghanistan with health services and we have to invest more where we can,” he added.
WHO has stepped up its efforts in the province, including to reach women and children with life-saving vaccinations in difficult-to-access areas; to pre-position emergency medical supplies in district hospitals to cover basic health needs of at least 50,000 people; and to revive local income-generating activities that will empower the local population and in turn enable them to lead a healthy life.
The agency and its partners are also aiming to raise awareness and address stigma surrounding leprosy and tuberculosis, as well as introduce a major de-worming initiative targeting all children between the ages of 2 and 5 years as part of the nationwide polio campaign.
Afghanistan is one of four countries, along with Pakistan, India and Nigeria, where polio remains endemic.